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Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Establish the conditions for a high-quality teaching and leadership profession

Latvia’s relatively large and ageing teaching workforce combined with a shrinking student population provide a historical opportunity to reshape and invest in the quality of its education workforce. Although the government has taken several steps to improve “the attractiveness and motivation of teachers and academic personnel” (MoES, 2014), there is a lack of coherence between the various initiatives.

Latvia should consider adopting a more systematic approach to reform with a comprehensive medium- to long-term human resource strategy for the education system that is adequately resourced, ensures coherence and adequately sequences various reform initiatives. This strategy should include raising salaries at least to nationally comparative levels as part of a well-designed career structure that offers teachers a variety of career paths, recognising and challenging them throughout their careers. This will need to go hand in hand with the consolidation of the school network to free up funds for higher salaries and investment in the quality of teaching, particularly in rural schools.

Professional standards for teachers and school leaders provide the foundation of a well-designed career structure, and should inform appraisals and the professional development of staff. The working group on the development of teacher standards should expand its work to include the development of school leadership standards. This work should be seen as a single effort to develop a diversified career structure that facilitates the transition from teaching into leadership positions.

Further, entry into initial teacher education and the profession should be more selective. This will allow for the quality and motivation of aspiring teachers and leaders to be tested, and may help draw the best graduates into the profession and raise the status of the profession in society. Professional development should follow a lifecycle approach based on a solid assessment of developmental needs through regular appraisals. Collaborative learning and working within schools should be enhanced, with induction and mentoring as good starting points. Finally, in light of the demands of the new curriculum, and the development of teaching and leadership standards, Latvia should consider reviewing its initial education and continuing professional development capacity.

 
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